6/9/95 - AJPW - Misawa/Kobashi vs. Kawada/Taue - 10
Yes, a ten. Before this, the latest match I would've given a ten to would've been Kobashi vs. Akiyama from NOAH in 2003. This was even better. A 50-minute match that will go down in the annals of time as one of the best puroresu matches ever. The pure adrenaline rush this match gave me was unparalleled to anything I've ever seen before. When it comes to these four in AJPW in the 90s, it's almost always guaranteed to be a great match, but this, my friends, this was art. The pure hate and stiffness shown in this match was beautiful. The logistical limb work was something that we don't see today in professional wrestling. Kobashi got his thigh messed up about half-way through the match, and sold it throughout the match until the very end. I was almost in tears because of the pain on Kobashi's face. That's right, I nearly cried manly tears. There came a point in the match where Misawa was being stomped by Kawada and Taue so badly that Kobashi crawled over on his stomach to Misawa and laid on top of him, absorbing the blows. This was so emotional. The crowd was screaming, the fighters were fighting, and all the planets aligned to create my favorite puroresu match I've ever seen. As Jim Cornette would say, by the end of the match, "Women were throwing their babies up in the air." The finish was red-hot as was the sequence leading up to the pinfall; and, as in old AJPW fashion, there were head drops a-plenty. They don't do it like this anymore. I cannot recommend this match more highly. It defines the reason I love this sport, and I don't think this match can be outdone.
11/20/09 – BJW – Jun Kasai vs. Ruiji Ito – Razor Board, Lighttubes, Barbwire Cactus – 6
I'd like to preface by stating that, while this was a fun match, it did not surpass Kasai/Numazawa from 2005 (I think that was the year). Korakuen was hot tonight, as two of the most insane deathmatch wrestlers for BJW would face off in a razorboard deathmatch. Both Kasai and Ito did a tremendous job at teasing razor board spots (sliding on the mat after an irish whip attempt into the board, most notably), and both brought their A-game as the red-hot Korakuen was almost exclusively behind Kasai. We see typical BJW crowd brawling, irish whips into chairs, using the ring post as a weapon, etc. Kasai once again instills in my mind that he's the craziest son of a bitch in the Land of the Rising Sun by doing his trademark dive from the balcony onto Ito, who is literally taped down onto a table outside the ring. Great back-and-forth offense for both wrestlers. Inside the ring, Kasai takes a gnarly bump onto the razor board -- a drop toe hold and lands head first onto the board (I guess you could call this "blading the easy way". Both men are wearing the crimson mask at this point. The crowd really made this match. It's been a long time since I've heard Korakuen being rocked by pounding feet and chants that much. After a few sick thumbtack bumps and an awesome finish, with Kasai pinning Ito after putting him head first through a cactus wrapped in barbwire. Altogether, a fun match with great brawling and great heat plus nasty bumps -- everything that Big Japan has been doing since 1995.
1/1/10 – Zero-1 – Toshiaki Kawada vs. Daisuke Sekimoto - 5
When I first saw this match posted, I was giddy like a schoolboy. I began to think of the amount of potential the match had – what with two hard-hitters: one who rose up in the 90's, and the other in the 00's, it was really a great story to begin with... New school strong style vs. Old school strong style. Can Dangerous K keep up with Sekimoto? Can Daisuke hang with one of the best? The answer is YES to both... to a certain extent. The exchanges were what one who is familiar with both men's work would expect. Kawada brought the stiffness, and Sekimoto brought the power. They both definitely had the chemistry to work together, but I honestly felt something was lacking. The crowd was behind Sekimoto mostly, as it would've been awesome to see the youngster pull an upset on the old, grumpy, sumbitch from AJPW. In the end, though, I felt like there was just no real heat to the match. The crowd was not as hot as I would've liked, but the shots from Kawada and the German from Sekimoto made this a fun watch, but honestly, it did not live up to my expectations. Basically, the match was fun to see the strikes and power maneuvers, but could have been better.
Kofi Kingston vs. Christian – WWE SmackDown! 5/14/10 – 6
Really, really solid match here. This bout was for the “vacated” Intercontinental Title (which would turn out to be part of an angle). These are the kind of gems I love to see on WWE's television shows. Great back-and-forth action with both guys bringing out their signature maneuvers. Christian's selling here was not to be overlooked. After Kofi hit the SOS (the cool spinning thing he does), Christian sold it like he got hit by a Mack truck. Kofi's intensity was top-notch and pay-per-view worthy, as well. Really good, solid midcard match.
Nobuhiko Takada & Akira Maeda vs Keiji Mutoh & Shiro Koshinaka – NJPW 3/20/87 – 7
What's better than watching the team of Takada & Maeda (the UWF invaders!) take on the young, up-and-comer Mutoh and the master of the flying ass attack, Koshinaka? Well, I really can't think of an answer right now. Perfect atmosphere to further carry on the UWF vs NJPW feud, with Mutoh getting a hell of a rub from two shooters. The passion and selling by all four men, notably Mutoh, was off the chain. If someone were to ask me, “What's a really good match from late 80s NJPW?” I'd pick this one. What a roller-coaster. The ups and downs were executed artistically, with Mutoh looking like he had the ring experience of someone who'd been wrestling for decades. The heat and exchanges were fantastic, and the crowd loved every minute of this nail-biter. I love this shit!